The NRPA Innovation Awards recognize and honor the latest advancements in the field of parks and recreation. These awards showcase the inspiring park and recreation agencies that have improved and empowered their communities through innovative practices in park design, health and wellness, conservation, and social equity.
The nomination period for the 2023 NRPA Innovation Awards is January 6 - March 24.
Learn more about 2022 Innovation Award winners in the 2022 Innovation Guide.
Innovation in Health Award
This award recognizes a park and recreation agency leading an innovative project that fosters a culture of health in their community.
Who should apply: Agencies that have to lead an initiative that has addressed a critical health need for their community such as getting residents more active, improving access to healthy food, or implementing policies that encourage healthy behavior. If you have made a difference in the health of your community, you should apply!
2023 Winner: Reducing Violence in Columbus — VOICE, Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, Columbus, Ohio
Innovation in Conservation Award
This award recognizes a park and recreation agency leading an innovative project that creates localized solutions for addressing global or regional environmental challenges.
Who should apply: Agencies that have addressed a critical environmental need in their community and have helped educate residents along the way. A critical need could be anything from habitat preservation, green infrastructure, innovative nature programs, water restoration projects and much, much more. All innovative ideas need to apply!
2023 Winner: Meadowdale Beach Park & Estuary Restoration Project, Snohomish County Parks & Recreation, Snohomish, Washington
Innovation in Equity Award
This award recognizes a park and recreation agency leading an innovative project that improves access to the benefits of local parks and recreation for everyone in the community, no matter the color of their skin, age, income level or ability.
Who should apply: Agencies that have found an innovative way to improve access for all to a great park through things such as creative programming, community outreach and more. The sky’s the limit!
2023 Winner: SootheSpace, Fox Valley Special Recreation Association, Aurora, Illinois
Innovation in Park Design Award
This award recognizes a park and recreation agency that manages a unique park or facility that embraces innovative technology, strategies or programs to improve their community.
Who should apply: Agencies that have designed a great park tailored to their community’s needs and dreams. If your project showcases an innovative process or outcome, you should apply!
2023 Winner: Unity Park, City of Greenville Parks, Recreation & Tourism, Greenville, South Carolina
NRPA Best in Innovation Award
This award recognizes the best of the best in park and recreation innovation. One of the four innovation categorical award winners will receive the Best in Innovation Award as determined by the NRPA Awards and Scholarship Committee. The Best in Innovation Award will be presented at the 2023 NRPA Annual Conference.